Friday June 10th 1864.
Between 3 & 4 in the morning my sleep was interrupted by the rolling motion of the ship and the rattle of tins and boxes coupled with the awful cries of women and children who thought the ship was going down.
And at this time the ship pitched & dived her forecastle into the heart of the waves which for a time impeded her onward progress but in a few seconds the water rolled away off the forecastle and the gallant General McClellan proceeded on his way in spite of the fury of the elements the ship stood at an angle of 40 degrees when the heavy roller struck her, and it follows as a matter of course that the water should find its way down the forecastle hatchway which it did in torrents and made the occupants of that part of the vessel (which were bachelors) rather uncomfortable, but the rushing sound of it created quite a panic amongst the women & children who were on midship, for seeing so many icebergs on the preceding had many believe that we had struck one of these floating castles in the darkness of the morning, for the weather was very foggy. [p.1]
Many of those weak in the faith gave themselves up for lost but others that were stronger struck up a lively time, and in a few seconds the whole ship was lit up by lanterns. The wind blew from a point near the south which sent us nearly on our right course. 11 sails were spread out to the wind, being 3 on each mast, and 2 on [the] bow. It kept on blowing furiously all day, and the ship rolled tremendously on its beam ends. Early in the morning a steamer passed on our weather quarter and soon disappeared in the fog. Also seen a schooner on seaward about the same time. It was raining a little and very foggy all day. Night came on, and the wind was but little abated, the ship continued to roll which kept most of the passengers awake at night. This is the worst weather we have yet experienced on board the General McClellan but the old maxim is remembered "Never mind the weather where the wind blows fair." The cooking galley has been closed all day yet there is no grumbling for food.
Saturday June the 11th, Blowing swiftly, yet but not so hard. About 10 a.m. the sun shone and the wind abated. The passengers are coming out on deck to breathe a little fresh air, cleaning between decks commences, weather is fine all day.
Sunday June 12th Wind continues from the same quarter, weather rather cold and no meeting held on main deck on that account. Meeting held between decks in the evening, going pretty well all day.[p.2]
13th A very fine day from the growth of vegetation, but thinking of those things on this watery main will only arouse the feelings towards something that can not be obtained. It is a dead calm. The ship does not hardly move. Served out the provisions between decks on account of rain.
14th A fresh breeze this morning and has been all night. Sailing two points out of our proper course: Been last night a captain on the guard. Had a marriage ceremony performed by President [Thomas E.] Jeremy. Headwinds prevailing in the evening, the ship is tacking. Not very well in health today. Sickly wind on the stomach on account of being up all night.
15th Headwinds. Going 7 or 8 knots to north, northwest. Continuing all day.
16th Wind from south southwest. Sailing to northwest by north went so far as being able to see Cape Sable, or Sable Island, which is on the extreme far west end of Novia Scotia. It was about 18 miles distance immediately after we changed our tack to the south, we are within 700 miles of New York.
16th Got out of my bunk at 6 a.m. ran upon the deck without neither coat nor hat to see how we were going along. Found the wind blowing from northeast & of course filling our sails and wafting us at the rate of 5 or 6 knots per hour to our desired port. Evening, making more sails called stun sails, we now have 25 large squares of canvas spread out to receive the welcome breeze. Weather very fine, the crew are engaged in preparing the vessel for port. [p.3]
18th This day opened with a gentler and favorable breeze. The provisions were served out. The General [McClellan] has a very commanding attitude today, standing quite erect and gliding smoothly over the water at the slow rate of 2 to 3 knots. The night is more beautiful than the day on account of the beautiful moon which illuminates the surface of the still waters and shining in our silvery ray from the ship to the very verge of the horizon. Every thing around us is quiet except an occasional [-] of sea birds. Went to rest about 10:30.
19th Sunday, The most beautiful morning that ever dawned on us while on the sea. The old father of waters is as still and calm as a fish pond on a breathless midsummer morning. We are getting into a warmer climate.
A crowded meeting was held on the upper deck in which it was unanimously resolved to offer Captain Trask a testimonial of our good wishes to him for his gentlemanly conduct to us as emigrants. It runs as follows: [NO RECORD OF TESTIMONIAL GIVEN HERE] [p.4]
20th Monday, Fine day, wind favorable from northeast making about 6 knots. The sailors are cleaning the ship, ready for port. Our coals have been stretched for several days past consequently wood is being used as fuel for cooking; and this morning the fire happened to be rather fierce, and the flame from the galley funnel caught and ignited the lower most stay sail and the cry of fire was shouted by some nervous and excited individuals and the result was that some sisters were lingering on deck and half dead from seasickness were much terrified by the cry and the appearance of fire in the canvas. Two of them fell into severe & convulsive fits, one of the last named, Mary Evans, late of Dowlais. The fire was instantly quenched by emptying [p.5] our bucket of water above it. The fracture occasioned by the fire is large enough for a span of horses to pop through. Evening, going 8 knots and hour.
21st Good breeze from northeast making 8 or 9 knots direct course.
22nd Northeast breeze continued noon lighted a pilot boat and in a few more minutes the pilot came on board amid the cheers of the hundreds who had crowded the deck.
23 Sighted land and about 8 p.m. threw anchor in the capacious harbor of New York.
24 Busily engaged in keeping the luggage for landing. Slept on deck and guarded part of the time.
25th A steamer and a barge came along side to take away our luggage and a busy time followed. All our luggage was reshipped and piled on the barge by our own boys which were previously selected to act as porters myself amongst the number. We (the porters) were towed on board the barge by a steamer to the Castle Garden wharf where we gave our respective names & ages. Thence we went on board the barge again and sailed up the river for about a mile & shipped our luggage on board the St. John, a very large and beautiful steamer which sails the Hudson River. And at 5 p.m. we steamed up toward Albany which place we reached in safety a little after day break. Here again we had to ship our luggage in carts [p.6] to the railway station a distance of about 1 miles and by two o'clock p.m. We were all in the cars en route for Rochester which place we reached on Sunday morning June 2nd. We stayed on the east side of the town and on the eastern bank of the Geneses River a few yards above the falls which are said to be from 80 to 90 feet high quite perpendicular, it is a beautiful scenery. I along with two others bathed a little below the falls. It was very pleasant being my first dip in American waters.
We were off again in the evening and by night fall we reached Buffalo where we shifted luggage and crossed to the Canadian border in the dark, then traveled in Canada till next morning when we crossed part of Lake Huron to the State of Michigan, then traveled on the Michigan Central Railroad until we reached Chicago which place we left for Quincy. We stayed a night at the last mentioned place. Next morning I was up at day break, the morning was beautiful and the "Father of waters" (the Mississippi) rolled past us in silent majestical triumph. Soon after breakfast the main part of the company crossed the river to west Quincy and straight way proceeded to St. Joseph.
Myself and others were left in charge of the luggage and did not cross the river until the evening. We went a few miles on our trip over the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. We then laid on [p.7] the turf to rest our weary bones over night. I suffered much all night & the next day with the chills having taken cold the previous day at Quincy where I perspired more than any other occasion in my life. The weather was suffocatingly warm & we had not much of any thing to eat or drink all day except a little bread and pail fulls of the Mississippi water.
In the evening we again started on our journey over the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. I will here remark it is the roughest I ever traveled over being laid down on the flat prairie without much of any filling under the rails. However, we kept traveling all night and the next day we reached St. Joseph in safety. We found the rest of the company engaged in moving on board the boat & in one hour we were sailing up the dirty waters of the Missouri River in the steamboat "West Wind" which boat had been attacked a fortnight before by "gorillas" an hostile band of rebels which are filling the country endangering life and property. Thanks be our Heavenly Father whose protecting hand is always over his children. We were permitted to sail in safety. We reached Wyoming on Sunday evening June 6th 1864 where we laid that night the best way we could on the grass . . . . [p.8]
BIB: Davis, David L., Journal, (Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum Library, Salt Lake City), pp. 1-8.